Reduce Your Mobile Data Usage with these 15 Tricks Team Team

Last updated 26 March, 2019

Looking for quick and easy ways to reduce your data usage? Look no further! We have assembled 15 not so obvious tricks that you can implement to save on your data consumption. Have a look!

1. Don’t enable data usage for all of your apps

If you’re like me, you are probably not using 60-70% of the apps that are actually on your phone. For some apps, I am not even sure what they are supposed to be doing. If you have not turned it off, all these apps are allowed to stream and download data to your phone whenever they please. Go over to your options settings and block the data usage of apps that you don’t use.

2. Use a data efficient browser

Most people use a standard browser such as Chrome, Edge or Safari. However, not all these browsers might be optimized for how you are using them. Browsers such as Chrome are at heart designed for desktops and will always work that way. Instead you can choose to download a browser that is specifically designed for mobile users. One example is Opera Mini. Opera Mini has an algorithm that compresses all data coming in and out of your browser. This can reduce your data consumption quite a bit.

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3. Limit the data usage of each application

If you have already disabled data usage for apps that you don’t use, the next step is limiting the data usage of apps that you do use. Unknowingly, a lot of apps are still running when you close them. Either through background processes or view tabs, a lot of apps are still streaming data after you have stopped using them. By setting data limits for each app, you can make sure that an app will never surpass a certain threshold in terms of data usage.

4. Disable Auto Synchronization

A lot of cloud based applications, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Todoist have a function called auto-synchronization that constantly checks the data that is on your phone against the data that is on the cloud. If you don’t actively use an app like Dropbox, but you have it installed, you can disable auto synchronization which will stop the background data usage of apps like these

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5. Use airplane mode as a hard stop

Best used as a last resort, turning on airplane mode can be a good way to put a hard stop to your data usage. Especially useful if you want to save those last MB’s for an emergency. Airplane Mode will block all data transfer from your phone and will set your data usage to 0%.

6. Turn off your phone while you sleep

You are obviously not using your phone while you sleep, so why leave it on? All throughout the night, your phone will transfer data, especially if you still have apps running. A lot of people use their phone as an alarm but you could just as easily buy an alarm clock and turn off your phone. Next to saving a lot of data, it also has health benefits because looking at your screen is scientifically proven to be bad for your sleep rythms. If you really feel like you need the phone on, enable Airplane mode, so at least your apps stop streaming data.

7. Remove data consuming apps you don’t use

A lot of apps you have installed might actually be completely useless, depending on how you use your phone. Take some time to clean up your phone and remove all the apps that you don’t use. Next to making your phone a lot faster, it will also significantly reduce your data usage.

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8. Limit your background data usage / enable background app refresh

If you are an Iphone user, you can enable an option called background app refresh. IOS, the Iphone operating system, already has smart learning algorithms that allow it to learn from your interaction with apps and adjust opdating schedules. By adjusting you background app refresh you can set up your device to only refresh data when connected to WiFi, at certain times or in a specific locations. This can aid you in reducing your data usage because background data can be a large drag on your quota.

9. Only download updates while connected to WiFi

This ties into the previous point a lot, but is important enough to warrant more emphasis. Updates are one of the biggest things that you are going to spend your data on. If you set up your device to only download updates when connected to WiFi, you will see significant improvements in your data usage. In both android and IOS there are options you can enable that will instruct the phone to only download updates when the phone is connected to WiFi.

10. Use data compression apps

If you are sending and receiving large data files you might want to consider using a data compression app. Music and video can soak up a lot of your data if you transfer them without compressing. If you compress your files before you send or receive them you can save a lot on your data usage. This applies especially to music and video because they are so data intensive, but it can also be important for your web browsing and email. If you compress every bit of data you send, you could theoretically reduce your data consumption by close to 50%.

11. Use a centralized mailbox application

Most people have various email addresses. You might have a personal address, a work address, one for school, etc. If you use separate applications for each platform you have an email address at, you are using more data than you need, because each app works separately. Instead you could install a mail application that allows you to integrate all your email into one mailbox. You can still separate them in various boxes but you use the same application. This way you will only need one application to manage all your email. Your email application will synchronize all your email in once session, instead of 3-4 different apps synching at the same time.

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12. Use Wi-Fi as much as possible

This may sound like a no-brainer, but using Wi-Fi instead of data can really help you in the long run. People often know this to be true, but you might not pay as much attention to this as you should. As soon as you go on Wi-Fi, make sure you disable your mobile data, because otherwise your phone might continue to use mobile data.

13. Utilize offline mode features

A lot of apps have offline mode features that allow you to use the application even when you are not connected to the internet. For example, YouTube allows you to pre-download videos you intend to watch. That way, you won’t have to use your data when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi anymore.

14. Avoid the use of data tethering / Hot-spotting

Although the increasing internet speeds have made the use of Mobile Hotspots a lot more convenient, they are incredibly taxing on your data quota. One day of web surfing via your Mobile Hotspot can easily rack up 3-4 GB of data of your quota if you’re not careful. Try to only use Hotspot as an emergency if you really need to access the internet.

15. Disable display ads for your browser

Last but not least, a good way to conserve data is to disable display ads in your browser. These kind of ads use up a lot of data because they are basically auto-play videos that stream to your phone. If you have a browser that allows you to disable these you can save a lot of data.

By following this list and paying a little more attention to your data usage you should be able to use a lot less data, and you might even want to switch to a plan with a lower GB quota. Check out our articles listing the best mobile prepaid plans and the best mobile postpaid plans in Malaysia.


The team is comprised of many talented individuals, sharing their knowledge, experiences and research to help others make better financial decisions.


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